Questions from a NT mom about her aspie son

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Callista
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31 Jul 2011, 7:01 pm

A lot of schools have time-out systems. These aren't punishments--they are there for the kid to take when they are overwhelmed. The kid notifies the teacher that they want a break, and then goes to a designated quiet area to relax until he feels better; if he misses schoolwork, he catches up on it later, after school perhaps. If your boy can recognize when he is stressed out, then this might be a useful system for him.

What should he tell his classmates? It's up to him, isn't it? If he wants to explain to the class what autism is and why things are so overwhelming for him sometimes, then he can do that. If he would rather let them think he is having tantrums, then let him do that. Most kids are pretty flexible about stuff like that; it's once middle school hits that they really become vicious.


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31 Jul 2011, 7:18 pm

Sk8 wrote:
If someone could give me some input on how to respond to my son more effectively at the onset of a meltdown and then after the meltdown has occurred, I'd appreciate it. Also, would you please offer suggestions on what to do and what not to do before during an after the meldtown?

My son, 10 years old, is very reluctant to try any calming techniques when it becomes obvious that he is visibly upset and perhaps nearing a meltdown. Did you have a technique that helped you calm yourself yet didn't make you stand out to others so much?

Finally, after the meltdown has passed, how soon would you want to talk about a social story on what got you upset?

Thanks for any input on this issue.

Try preventing the outburst before it happens. Let him know he is on the verge of one, and, hat he probably needs to remove himself from the area so he can calm down, then come back. Also, if you're about to do something that will potentially really upset him, calmly explain why you are about to do something, and disscuss it. Maybe he'll tell you why he doesn't want you to do it, and it will turn out he would have had a reason to be upset, and you'll change your mind.

For example, say a kid brings his phone to a camp. You know that yesterday, all he did all day was play with his phone, and you want to make sure it doesn't happen again. Instead of taking the phone away right away, tell your son your concern. Tell him that you're going to take the phone away for the day, but he can have it back after camp. Wait for him to give it to you rather then snatching it from him.
He might feel that he needs the phone because he is expecting an important call from a friend or business, and he wants to make sure that he can answer it. You could either agree then to let him keep the phone only to answer that one call, or let him know that you will keep the phone will you all day and take the call when it comes.
This way, you avert what could have potentially been a crisis and meltdown when you took the phone without explaining anything first, because you're son would have been too upset to explain what the problem was.



Callista
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31 Jul 2011, 7:20 pm

Oh yeah. You totally have to explain why on everything; otherwise it'll just be unexpected, unpleasant, and upsetting. As a kid, I never obeyed rules unless they made sense to me.


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31 Jul 2011, 8:07 pm

Callista wrote:
Oh yeah. You totally have to explain why on everything; otherwise it'll just be unexpected, unpleasant, and upsetting. As a kid, I never obeyed rules unless they made sense to me.


Me 2...I never obeyed what I didn't understand. "because I told you so." never worked for me and actually made me rather defiant.
The best way to deal with a meltodown is to prevent one by sunglasses, lowering the lights, earplugs, quiet space. Sensory stuff can really push one over the edge. Even if the meltdown is about something else...once a meltdown id about to happen the sensory problems intensify like everything is in your face and the room seems to spin from the sudden sensory intensification.

As far as school goes, he can try to put in ear plugs and sunglasses and remove himself when he feels it coming on. However, some situations that cant be avoided...like with bullying...you cant say to your bully...hold on a minute, let me put in my earplugs and sunglasses.
Bullying itself should be prevented as well by talking with teachers...if it is bad enough and they wont do any thing...go to the local media.


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31 Jul 2011, 10:13 pm

OJani wrote:
Foxyglamarchist wrote:
the best thing you can do as he's warming up is provide him with space. Lowered lights, white noise, and a break from interaction. Outside of the home an mp3 player and sunglasses can substitute. A lot of meltdowns and shut downs are triggered by sensory issues. If you are trying to do active learning while he's distracted by something he's hearing, smelling, seeing, etc. you are going to have problems. During non escalated times have him start identifying and cataloging his sensory input. Sometimes just identifying the stimulus will help. Especially if a new stimulus come along his brain isn't going to be pulled in a million different directions. Getting the tools to apply analytical thinking about triggers is enormously useful for anyone on the spectrum or not.

This definitely makes sense to me. Also, when I struggled with interacting other people, usually my peers, did mistakes, or was criticized for something harshly or loudly, I was prone to have a meltdown.

My mother used to teach me to count from 1 to 10 before I do something out of impetus, which was basically a method to prevent an immediate and much harsher response to a trigger that would otherwise cause a tantrum-ish meltdown.


These are both excellent answers. :D

I'd like to add that I am more prone to shut downs or meltdowns if I have not eaten recently. I get so engrossed in something and forget to eat :oops: I found with my son who used to have 3-4 meltdowns a day, the same thing. I had to change his diet slightly, I made sure he had breakfast cereal as natural as possible with minimal added sugar and high fibre (so the food keeps the body sustained for longer). He used Milo to sweeten it. His meltdowns were caused through his sugar levels going up and down. They go down rapidly after eating something sweet because your body produces insulin to counteract all the sugar. He does not have many meltdowns since we changed what he eats.

Also I agree with what many other people have said about leaving him alone during meltdown.
Just make sure you explain that you'll be close by if he needs you, and if he wants to talk about it later, it would be nice. That works with my son and it is what I like too.



Callista
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31 Jul 2011, 10:30 pm

I dunno; being told to count to ten when already overloaded might set me off, really. It's just the sort of useless task that would make me feel annoyed and patronized. If you're going to teach anything like that, you're going to have to teach it ahead of time. Prompting when they're overloaded would probably just trigger the meltdown right there.


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MakaylaTheAspie
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31 Jul 2011, 10:50 pm

Callista wrote:
Most kids are pretty flexible about stuff like that; it's once middle school hits that they really become vicious.


That couldn't be more true. Thank god for the autism awareness assembly in 7th grade. That really saved my life in middle school. :lol:


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31 Jul 2011, 11:02 pm

try and do things with him that will drop his stress level. take him for a walk, go to the park, stuff like that.

you might find it useful to implement the things on this page:

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt66453.html



Artros
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01 Aug 2011, 3:23 am

Sk8 wrote:
Thanks for the input that it is more effective to merely leave him alone without a dialogue about it. Got it. What about school? He has some pretty rough days. I seem to spend much of my time fighting with the school to stop mis-labeling my son as merely a defiant boy who won't listen. His triggers in school are usually over difficult peers--either kids he doesn't get along with or kids who may overstep my son's personal space. An example:

My son brought a Wimpy Kid (make your own diary book) to school and had kept it in his desk. He left it on top his desk and turned around to find another student had it and was looking though it. There was a struggle for my son to get the book back and when my son did get the book back he hit the other kid with it. The teacher was in the back of the room and while he didn't see the incident, he called the principal and my son was taken to her office.

While this is one example, I wonder what advice you would give a kid in elementary school about having meltdowns or tantrums? What would you tell them to tell their friends or classmates if they're asked about that behavior after they've witnessed one of their meltdowns? I appreciate all input. Thank you.


If I were in the same situation as your kid, I probably would've responded very similarly when I was that old. I do not like people taking my stuff without asking. If I got sent to the principal's office instead of the kid who stole my things, I would probably only get angrier about the injustice done to me.

I think it would be good if the teacher would simply install a rule that you are not to take each other's things without asking first. That would mean your kid doesn't get mentioned specifically and bullies do not start looking for another avenue of attack now that he's proven to be weak and that, if the rule is violated, he may not feel like he has to take action himself.



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02 Aug 2011, 11:46 am

Quote:
Did you have a technique that helped you calm yourself yet didn't make you stand out to others so much?


Why don't you want him to stand out? Is it for your sake or his?



Callista
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02 Aug 2011, 1:24 pm

Yeah, "not standing out" shouldn't be your first priority. I learned that ages ago. If something looks weird but works, then for heaven's sake use it!--you're trying to learn to do useful things, use your own skills, not imitate the typical.


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